An injury to regular rider Brenton Avdulla has prompted a jockey change for Randwick Guineas winner Lion’s Roar and it has been made with a longer-term view.
The four-year-old resumes in the Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday when he will be partnered by Kerrin Mcevoy for the first time.
McEvoy is considered one of the best lightweight riders in the country and trainer John O’Shea is hoping Lion’s Roar can perform well enough to convince the top jockey to stay with him, especially given the gelding is likely to receive a low weight in the Epsom Handicap.
“I’d love Kerrin to stick with him because obviously Kerrin is a world-class rider and he can ride him at the weight in the Epsom,” O’Shea said.
Lion’s Roar established himself as one of the classiest three-year-olds of his generation, backing up his Randwick Guineas triumph with a fourth to Mo’Unga in the Rosehill Guineas and third behind Explosive Jack in the ATC Australian Derby.
While he holds a nomination for the Caulfield Cup, O’Shea is leaning towards restricting him to races up to 2000 metres, and to targets in Sydney.
“After the George Main (Stakes) we’ll have a reassess. But I’m not in a real hurry to leave NSW, we can’t go with them,” O’Shea said.
“There are plenty of good races here for them and the best races in the world, so there’s no real urgency to leave the state.”
Lion’s Roar will kick off against a smart field headed by nominal Cox Plate favourite Zaaki and seasoned veteran Dreamforce, who will be vying for a trifecta of Tramway wins after claiming the race for the past two years.
While Lion’s Roar still needs to prove he can make the grade as an older horse, O’Shea is comfortable he has made the necessary physical transitions.
“He looks to have improved pretty dramatically, physically anyway, and all our data is telling us he’s made a forward step, so we’re looking forward to presenting him on Saturday and we’re hoping he runs well,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea confirmed All Saints’ Eve is due to resume in the Tramway after drawing wide in Friday’s Mona Lisa Stakes at Wyong.
The trainer is keeping an open mind on spring plans for the mare but says the Epsom is also on her radar if she can be competitive in some of the lead-in races.